"Mr. Stephanopoulos? The White House on line 1, they want to review your debate prep for tonight..."
Anyway - here's Peter Orzag, Obama's former director of the Office of Management and Budget, explaining to us that yes, a recession/depression is actually good for our health:
Given the added anxiety created by a weak economy, you might think life expectancy would decline. Oddly, though, during recessions, exactly the opposite tends to happen: Life expectancy rises.
Life expectancy appears to have risen more in the states with relatively large increases in unemployment. In Michigan and Illinois, for example, where joblessness rose much more than in North Dakota or Iowa, age-adjusted death rates have had a steeper decline since 2007. (In the states with the smallest increase in unemployment, the death rates have perversely risen.)
What's the point of all this, except to say that in states with the shittiest economies, you'll live about four months longer? Somehow, Orzag comes to this conclusion:
Despite the increase in life expectancy from a recession, therefore, the best policy approach remains an aggressive support for the economy now, coupled with lots of deficit reduction enacted today but implemented later on.
If I didn't know any better, I'd say that more bad news is on the horizon, and Orzag is trying to soften the blow of both a re-recession and soften up the ground for another Obama budget that hikes spending and taxes.
If I didn't know any better, I'd say that Obama's closest confidante, Valerie Jarrett, is saying the same exact thing:
"And so we need to make sure that we continue to support that important safety net. It not only is good for the family, but it's good for the economy. People who receive that unemployment check go out and spend it and help stimulate the economy, so that's healthy as well."
My guess: A perfect economic shit-storm is on the horizon, with unemployment about to pop back up to 9%, coupled with $5/gallon gas, and a stock market buffeted and broken by the winds of Europe's failed single-currency experiment. Right now is just the moment of calm before the storm, and inside the Obama Administration, they are crapping cod. So their minions are sent out to proclaim that the bad economy is good for your health, that being on perpetual unemployment is a "healthy" thing, and that tax-and-spend is our only path to freedom.
It's an early attempt at narrative control, just like Stephanopoulos attempted, somewhat successfully, a few weeks back. Consider the words of Orzag and Jarrett to be in the same vein, a foreshadowing of something wicked coming down the 'pike...